News

Investigator ‘brought 500 people back from the dead’ but none of them were happy

An insurance investigator travelled to 83 countries and saved his company hundreds of millions of pounds in his pursuit of the fake dead.

John Saunders has spent the past three decades proving that the deceased are in fact alive.

The British investigator travels the world tracking down fraudsters who have faked their own endings in a bid to claim pay outs.

Over the course of his 30 year career he has proven that more than 500 people are not actually dead.

Among the army of undead are a man whose finger prints were on his death certificate, a woman who claimed she died of dehydration and a man who lied about a lorry crash.

When John drops in on his targets he makes sure to get a photo with them, including Almir.

Insurance workers were told that the London man, who had a policy for £1million, had died in a car crash in Yemen in 2006.

John was asked to travel from his home in Windsor, Berkshire to the Middle Eastern country after concerns were raised about his medical certificates.

There he found a copy of the certificate at Al Kuwait Hospital in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, but no record of the doctor whose name was on it.

When the 74-year-old asked the police officer listed on the form, he explained that he’d not actually attended the crash, but that he had been told about it by Almir’s family.

“Next, I went to the cemetery where he was ‘buried’ but staff told me Almir was not dead and they gave me ­directions to his family’s house,” John told the Sun.

“A neighbour told me he had seen the dead man in the street that afternoon.

“Next morning I went to the house and had my photograph taken with Almir, who told me he had faked his death because he wanted to obtain a large sum of money to show his family he had been a success in the UK.”

John later discovered that the police officer who wrote the accident report was related to the family.

The investigator has written about some of his more dramatic cases in his new book Go Away, I’m Dead.

John has investigated more than 500 cases where people have taken out insurance in the UK and died abroad, saving his company more than £230million in the process.

He says that virtually every one of those deaths was fake.

Another case he highlights is that of Anthony McErlean, who was insured for £500,000 and died when he was hit by a truck in Honduras, Central America.

An American friend of his said that they’d left home early to go bird watching when their car broke down.

As the duo went to fix it a truck full of cabbages knocked them over, killing Anthony, who was later cremated.

John was suspicious of cremation – given how rare the practice is in the Catholic Honduras – and the lack of documents prided by Anthony’s wife.

The investigator made enquiries with Anthony’s former neighbours in Faversham who soon called and told him that they’d seen the dead man in Sainsbury’s.

Police would go on to arrest Anthony who was jailed for five years after his finger prints were found on his own death certificate.

Another rumbled claimant was Shamshad Billa, who said she owned a share in an off-licence business in Islington, North London and who was due to marry Mohammed Butt.

In early 2007 she took out £2million of life insurance policies before dying in Pakistan of “dehydration” in July that year.

Shamshad’s fiancé was later spotted at the off-licence with a woman called Rozeena Butt.

It would transpire that Rozeena and Shamshad were the same person and that Mohammed was a Special Constable in London’s Met Police.

Special Constables are not allowed to own licensed premises.

At their trial in 2011, Rozeena said she got the idea from a clairvoyant.